For better or worse, McDonald’s has conquered the world. With locations in 119 countries, there’s something equal parts comforting and creepy about just how inescapable the golden arches are. Given this unavoidable reality, we decided to explore some of the more surprising facets of their menus from around the world. Go beyond burgers and fries (and McRibs and Shamrock Shakes, for that matter) and see how one of the most American fast food chain of all time is interpreted across the globe.
McDonald’s India: Veg Pizza McPuff
Given prevailing cultural standards, McDonald’s in India are known for their vast vegetarian offerings. The most intriguing among them are these Pizza McPuffs. Described on the company website as “a crisp brown savory dough with a generous helping of rich tomato sauce that is mixed with carrots, bell pepper, beans, onion, peas and gooey mozzarella,” we’re dying to try these pizza pockets, especially since McPizza was one of the most elusive and notorious flops to ever hits menus in America.
McDonald’s Hong Kong: Good Morning Breakfast – Mixed Veggies & Egg, Mini Twisty Pasta
McDonald’s breakfast offerings have always been somewhat limited. That’s why we’re trekking to Hong Kong, where we can order this hearty bowl of eggs, veggies, and twisty pasta. Even if you don’t think macaroni qualifies as a breakfast food (you’re wrong by the way, there is no bad time for pasta), at the very least it can break up the monotony of our Egg McMuffin mornings.
McDonald’s Germany: Chio-Popcorn Caramel McFlurry
Is there anything you can’t mix into a McFlurry? From M&Ms to Oreos, the candy combinations seem to be endless and the offerings abroad go beyond what we’re used to in the states. McDonald’s in Germany ups its ice cream game by swirling in caramel-coated popcorn and caramel sauce into the mix, making for the ultimate salty-sweet dessert.
McDonald’s Japan: Filet o’ Shrimp Burger
Who needs a Filet o’ Fish when you can have a Filet o’ Shrimp? While there’s nothing natural about shrimp being molded into a patty, it does make it a lot easier to eat on a bun. And besides, who goes to McDonald’s for natural food anyway? This is a restaurant that prides itself on the mystery meat fantasia that is the McRib, after all. We’ll take three.
McDonald’s France: The Crispy Mozza Wrap
Take it from my personal experience. Between the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, the Palace of Versailles and all the other marvels that I saw in France, none impressed me more than than this sandwich.Why did it take so long for someone to put a mozzarella stick into a wrap? And why don’t we have innovations like that in America? It’s so elegant and delicious in its simplicity that it puts the Royale with cheese to shame.
McDonald’s Egypt: Date and Custard Pie
Let’s face it. McDonald’s doesn’t have the most adventurous dessert options. It’s fine if you’re looking for a quick milkshake or apple pie, but what if you’re craving more? Guess we’ll have to fly to Egypt for a slice of this date and custard pie, which has its roots in the region. Maybe McDonald’s take on it isn’t the most authentic, but hey, Grimace approves and that’ll do in a pinch.
McDonald’s Korea: Ricotta Chicken Sandwich
Who puts ricotta cheese on a fried chicken sandwich? Korean McDonald’s, that’s who! We have a lot of questions. Mainly WHY?? But we’d eat this for the sheer novelty value anyway!
McDonald’s Malaysia: Bubur Ayam McD
Bubur Ayam is a traditional Indonesian chicken congee. While McDonald’s claims its take on the porridge dish is “just like mum’s cooking!” we’re going to go out on a limb and say that’s probably not true. But it does include an intriguing mix of ginger, shallots, and diced chiles, so we’ll reserve judgement until we actually try it.
McDonald’s Philippines: Chicken McDo with McSpaghetti
In case you don’t want a side of fries, go for a side of spaghetti. It pairs perfectly with… fried chicken? Ah, so this is how American fast food gets interpreted half way across the world!
McDonald’s Morocco: Cheese Croquettes with Peppers
If I’ve discovered anything throughout the course of my research, it’s that American McDonald’s lack a surprising amount of fried cheese products compared to our international peers. Just look at Morocco – they get these gooey cheese balls stuffed with peppers. No fair!
You can get some international McDonald’s items at the brand’s HQ in Chicago; check out the rotating menu to see what’s cooking.
Header image courtesy of McDonald's.